Right now, Tribeca’s Pier 26 doesn’t look like much at all. The blank canvas of concrete on the Hudson River between North Moore and Hubert streets has been an eyesore in the nabe for years as plans to construct a marine education center have stalled repeatedly. But now the Hudson River Park Trust has found a way to move the project forward thanks to starchitect and local resident Rafael Viñoly. He’ll be donating his services to design the long-awaited estuarium educational facility, which will someday occupy the pier, along with a restaurant and space for free kayak rentals.

Rafael Viñoly, tribeca, pier 26, marine education center, pier 26 estuarium, pier 26 renovation, pier 26 redevelopment, olin, manhattan

The Hudson River Park Trust called on Viñoly’s NYC-headquartered firm for help with the long-awaited project, which will be much more than just a facelift. For Viñoly’s part, he will design an estuarium educational facility, which will be managed by Clarkson University, Hudson River Clearwater, and the New York Hall of Science, among others, and serve as Hudson River Park’s scientific programming hub. Viñoly is an NYC native and Tribeca resident, and will actually be donating his services to the project, according to the New York Times, eliminating some financial concerns about the design of the facility.

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The construction will be funded in part by Citi, which has pledged $10 million to the redevelopment of Pier 26, in conjunction with its plans to return its global headquarters to a nearby site. Elsewhere at the pier, landscape firm OLIN has reportedly signed on to design the outdoor space for public use, which will include a free kayaking program.

Although the pier underwent structural renovations in 2008 and 2009, funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Preservation, not much has happened since then. The project stalled many times in recent years, as finances proved challenging even after Governor Cuomo earmarked $10 million for the educational facility. Many had hoped the pier’s new boathouse and restaurant would be constructed and open to the public by now but despite that progress, local residents must be pleased to hear that the project isn’t dead in (or next to) the water.

+ Rafael Viñoly Architects

Via Curbed

Images via Curbed and Hudson River Park